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Thread: PWS cell phone coverage...again

  1. #1
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Default PWS cell phone coverage...again

    I have been wanting to improve my ACS coverage out in the Sound and think I have done it for about $100. I purchased an omnidirectional antenna that I purchased at Frigid North Electronics here in Anchor town. Here is a link to the antenna: http://www.wilsonelectronics.com////...uctB.php?ID=30

    It was my understanding that the antenna will only work if you get some signal. We were anchored in a cove closer to Valdez than Whittier, surrounded by mountains and I had absolutely no signal. I mounted the antenna on the roof and fished the cable down through my radar pedestal and plugged the phone in. I had signal! In fact, I had signal everywhere we traveled except for a small area just outside the Port Wells side of Ester Passage. I may try a booster in the future, but I think I will put that $300 in one of my three fuel tanks. I forgot to take pictures of the install, but will if there is any interest.

    Note: I did this not so that I can hear my phone ring, but so I can call back to civilization and gloat on the fact that I am gorging myself on huge Alaskan spots, flat fish, and enjoying a cold beverage served over 10,000 year old glacial ice!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I used to receive calls like that from my boss. Very annoying. Then I retired, now I can make them! Good feeling.
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

  3. #3

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    S.O What phone are you using and does it have an external antenna connection (port)? A lot of the newer phones do not have an external antenna port and you have to use an inductive type antenna adapter.

    SB

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark Bait View Post
    S.O What phone are you using and does it have an external antenna connection (port)? A lot of the newer phones do not have an external antenna port and you have to use an inductive type antenna adapter.

    SB
    SB

    I am using a no frills LG flip phone. The antenna port is located under a rubber plug which is under the battery cover. I drilled a hole through the cover to fit the plug to the antenna. Works great.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default

    Good info and that is one nice rig.

    Steve

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Good info and that is one nice rig.

    Steve
    Thanks, Steve. We sure like her.

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  7. #7
    Member BigBrown767's Avatar
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    Default Phone...

    Now that you've drilled a hole in your phone it'll never be water tight if you drop it in .

    Is ACS the only carrier that has service on PWS? As soon as I leave the Whittier SBH I loose the signal on my POC.

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBrown767 View Post
    Now that you've drilled a hole in your phone it'll never be water tight if you drop it in .

    Is ACS the only carrier that has service on PWS? As soon as I leave the Whittier SBH I loose the signal on my POC.
    Talked to a GCI engineer and it sounds like the old service from the sound has been taken over by GCI and they are starting to work on improvements. I think GCI, Digitell, ACS, and maybe MTA work out there. No Cell One coverage which is what I have
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  9. #9
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBrown767 View Post
    Now that you've drilled a hole in your phone it'll never be water tight if you drop it in .

    Is ACS the only carrier that has service on PWS? As soon as I leave the Whittier SBH I loose the signal on my POC.
    It won't reach the water once pluggged in to the antenna. I should be
    safe.

    I actually had pretty good signal through ACS without the antenna, when I could see Naked Island. Apparently there is a tower on it.
    Last edited by spoiled one; 06-16-2008 at 13:03. Reason: forgot something
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  10. #10
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default AT&T

    I have seen those commercials where AT&T state bars in places like......

    NOT in PWS!!

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
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    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  11. #11

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    I just spent saturday night out in PWS and on my AT&T I-PHONE we had coverage not only in Whittier but almost out to Port Wells, soon as we rounded into Pigot Bay I lost Coverage. We went out to Cascade Falls and did not have coverage from Prot Wells East towards VDZ. But as soon as we hit 1/2 way across Port Wells heading back into Whittier, I started to receive 'Happy Father's Day' text messages and had coverage again from the west side of Port Wells again. I wonder if the I-Phone has an external option? How far out does ACS work?

    Chris

  12. #12
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    My ACS phone without the external antenna conected had a lot of intermittent coverage. Basically, if you could see Naked Island, you would have some coverage. There are spots where I could not see the island, but had enough coverage to at least send a text. With the antenna connected, coverage was nearly every where I went. I will be heading south this weekend and will report back with some results. $100 well spent IMO. When I am out with the boys, I can still "tuck" my little ones in.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  13. #13

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    Through last year, I could get cell reception from Naked Island (where the tower is) all the way to Montague. I had ACS.

    This year, I started out with the same ACS service and same phone as last year and couldn't get any reception in that same area. Then I took out a different phone with AT&T service and couldn't get anything, either. Although I can get reception with the AT&T near Whittier. I don't know what's changed.

  14. #14
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Call AT&T

    Has anyone called AT&T and ask why?

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    Couldn't get anything after pigot point yesterday
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
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  16. #16

    Default Let's keep this simple....

    Copper Valley Telecom, out of Valdez, has a CDMA cell tower on Naked island. ACS and Alaska DigiTel (who are both CDMA) share this Copper Valley Cell site (and pay a per minute fee even if you don't see it on your bill).

    ATT is a GSM carrier, they cannot share this cell site. ATT does has a cell site in Whittier. Actually it sits out a bit from the town towards PWS/Port Wells. Once you leave the line of site from passage cannal ATT is dead.

    I you want cell coverage in PWS, Copper Valley Telecom, ACS, and Alaska Digitel have the EXACT SAME COVERAGE.

    If you add a directional antenna as "spoiled one" indicates they will have the same benefit on all three carriers.

    So, if you want good coverage get a CDMA phone from Alaska DigiTel, ACS or Copper Valley Cellular, whatever works for your.

    ATT, until they put a GSM tower on naked island will not have good coverage.

    I have been in Telecom for 10 years and in wireless in AK for 5.5 years. Any additional question on who has coverage where let me know.

    All carriers have their pros and cons.

    MRH

  17. #17
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Mhpilot,

    Can you explain the benefit of a booster? Can reception be amplified or only transmission? Or does it "boost" the reception after it is received?

    Thanks

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  18. #18

    Default Reception - PWS

    Your cell phone puts out about .5 watts of power. Almost always when you lack coverage your phone can "see/hear" the cell site that is putting off a much higher wattage than your phone; but the cell site cannot see/hear your phone because it is putting off only .5 watts.

    So your cell phone can receive the RF signal from the cell site but does not have enough power to send a good signal back to the tower.

    There are three things that can help that. An amplifier that boosts your signal. An old fashion bag phone that has 3 watts instead of .5 watts or a directional yagi antenna that adds gain on your signal and reception.

    The simplest is attaching a directional yagi antenna to your existing cell phone. Since Copper Valley Telecom operates in the 800 MHz band be sure you get one that is for the 800 band opposed to the 1900 band.

    If you attach this to your cell phone antenna you will get 19 db gain (don't worry about what that means, gain is good, its like added watts or a bigger reception)

    http://www.alternativewireless.com/cellular-antennas/wilson-antennas/wilson_yagi_antenna.html

    This will improve your reception and broadcast as well.

    So in your in PWS, get this antenna, be sure it's the 800 Mhz band, point towards naked island and that will be a good solution.

    Getting a 3 watt bag phone is also a decent solution.

    If you have any favorite snow machine or other remote areas and you have questions about who has good coverage, shoot me an email.

    MRH

  19. #19
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a Wilson dual frequency antenna hooked up now. It's frequency range is 806-894 MHz/1850-1990 MHz. From what I can gather, I really will not gain anything from a booster then.

    Thanks for the explanation.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  20. #20
    Member BigBrown767's Avatar
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    Default Amplifier

    I used to work in a building that seemed like it was "hardened", no one ever had more than half a bar at any given time. We added an amplifier and it was amazing, not only did you get a good boost from a fair distance away from the antenna but I think I was using a tower from somewhere in France .
    Maybe this portable one would work:
    http://www.powerfulsignal.com/KitsVe...FRwvagodWhd3WA

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